Vatican burns 3 million euros on modern art for Venice Biennale

Vatican Pavilion for the first time at the Venice Biennale - "2.8 million euros thrown out of the window"

At the Venice Biennale, which from 1 June takes place for the 55th time, for the first time the Vatican will be represented with its own pavilion. The Italian art and culture critic Francesco Colafemmina criticised in a statement the works selected for the artists shown there and the costs of the purchase of the exhibited works.

The Vatican Pavilion at Biennale: 2.8 million euros wasted. Pope should cancel the exhibition!

Francesco Colafemmina

Cardinal Meforio will announce in a month with pomp the big event. For the first time in history since the little-known ban issued in 1895 by Patriarch Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto (later Pope St Pius X) on Catholics participating in the City of Venice;s Biennale, the gates of the famous international exhibition of modern art will be open to the Holy See.

A mediocre, if not horrendous pavilion will house the works of three living and one deceased artist. The Via Crucis, of the illustrious screen engraver Lucio Fontana, previously owned by the Niccoli Gallery of Parma was purchased for the Biennale for about 2 million euros from the Holy See, on the recommendation and urging of Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture . The cost of the works of the other three artists are estimated at around 800,000 euros. If the artworks had a minimum of aesthetic relevance to the requirements of the Catholic Church,the excessive costs could still be criticised in times of tight budgets.

The fact is, though, that the works of inferior quality and stand in stark contrast not only to the Papal teaching of the whole past century (especially what the abstract art is concerned), but also and especially to what the conciliar Constitution on the Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium has said on the sacred arts. It says:

Very rightly the fine arts are considered to rank among the noblest activities of man's genius, and this applies especially to religious art and to its highest achievement, which is sacred art. These arts, by their very nature, are oriented toward the infinite beauty of God which they attempt in some way to portray by the work of human hands; they achieve their purpose of redounding to God's praise and glory in proportion as they are directed the more exclusively to the single aim of turning men's minds devoutly toward God.

Holy Mother Church has therefore always been the friend of the fine arts and has ever sought their noble help, with the special aim that all things set apart for use in divine worship should be truly worthy, becoming, and beautiful, signs and symbols of the supernatural world, and for this purpose she has trained artists. In fact, the Church has, with good reason, always reserved to herself the right to pass judgment upon the arts, deciding which of the works of artists are in accordance with faith, piety, and cherished traditional laws, and thereby fitted for sacred use.

The Church has been particularly careful to see that sacred furnishings should worthily and beautifully serve the dignity of worship, and has admitted changes in materials, style, or ornamentation prompted by the progress of the technical arts with the passage of time.

The Pope, who set aside homage after his election, the Pope, who has sent to the museum objects of gold, that rejects the chasubles and splendid mitres, the Pope, who is close to the poor would, logically - and no matter whether these millions come from donations or actual expenditure of the Vatican - should stop this disgraceful circus that alone satisfies the narcissism of an individual and the Renaissance court.


Cathcon- Even if one person is converted by this venture, it would be a surprise. It must go down as the most inefficient and expensive missionary effort in history.

Opponents of the Church constantly complained in the past about Her wealth.  Ironically the contemporary church has now given them something real to complain about  in this ostentatious display of modern ecclesiastical decadence.


Tancred said…
Did someone beside the "artist" benefit from this sale?
Who the heck would even want modern art? It belongs in a trash-bin!

Yes the Church's wealth is a target for criticism but we must remember that most of such attacks are based on myth, prejudice and plain ignorance.

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